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Dust to Dust
Cover of Dust to Dust
Dust to Dust
A Memoir
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"A wonderful book, original in concept and stunningly written."
—Ward Just

"Elegiac, funny, wistful, deep, and wonderfully human, Dust to Dust moved me to laughter and tears, sometimes simultaneously."
—Karl Marlantes, bestselling author of Matterhorn and What It Is Like to Go to War

Tim O'Brien meets Annie Dillard in this remarkable memoir by debut author Benjamin Busch. Much more than a war memoir, Dust to Dust brilliantly explores the passage through a lifetime—a moving meditation on life and death, the adventures of childhood and revelations of adulthood. Seemingly ordinary things take on a breathtaking radiance when examined by this decorated Marine officer—veteran of two combat tours in Iraq—actor on the hit HBO series The Wire, and son of acclaimed novelist Frederick Busch. Above all, Benjamin Busch is a truly extraordinary new literary talent as evidenced by his exemplary debut, Dust to Dust—an original, emotionally powerful, and surprisingly refreshing take on an American soldier's story.

"A wonderful book, original in concept and stunningly written."
—Ward Just

"Elegiac, funny, wistful, deep, and wonderfully human, Dust to Dust moved me to laughter and tears, sometimes simultaneously."
—Karl Marlantes, bestselling author of Matterhorn and What It Is Like to Go to War

Tim O'Brien meets Annie Dillard in this remarkable memoir by debut author Benjamin Busch. Much more than a war memoir, Dust to Dust brilliantly explores the passage through a lifetime—a moving meditation on life and death, the adventures of childhood and revelations of adulthood. Seemingly ordinary things take on a breathtaking radiance when examined by this decorated Marine officer—veteran of two combat tours in Iraq—actor on the hit HBO series The Wire, and son of acclaimed novelist Frederick Busch. Above all, Benjamin Busch is a truly extraordinary new literary talent as evidenced by his exemplary debut, Dust to Dust—an original, emotionally powerful, and surprisingly refreshing take on an American soldier's story.

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About the Author-
  • Benjamin Busch is a United States Marine Corps infantry officer, photographer, film director, and actor whose many roles have included Officer Anthony Colicchio on the HBO series The Wire. His writing has been featured in Harper's and has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He has also appeared as a guest commentator on NPR's All Things Considered. He lives on a farm in Michigan with his wife and two daughters.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 14, 2011
    Son of celebrated novelist Frederick Busch, Benjamin Busch carries us on a haunting, humorous, and poignant journey in search of himself and his parents, especially his father. Reducing his life to the purest elements that compose it—soil, water, blood, bone, ash, stone, wood, metal, arms—the younger Busch intersperses stories of growing up in North Carolina, rural New York, and California with his harrowing and life-defining experiences on the sports field and on the battlefields of Iraq. While his father experienced the world through language and had an intellectual relationship with the physical universe, Busch gains comprehension of his environment by throwing himself against it. His father builds with words, but the son builds with pieces of earth and comes to understand life through digging, cutting, climbing, and stacking. Drawn to high school football because of its armor—which protects him in the combat of adolescence and separates him from the belief in injury—Busch charges down the field one Friday night with all his energy channeled into plowing into and tackling the runner returning the game’s opening kick. Struck in the knee—which was unprotected by pads and armor—by a teammate, his leg seems to unravel around the bone, and in that moment his entire life is defined by physical pain and the will to survive it. Though his father feared the insignificance of his prose and his death, the younger Busch defiantly stares down both, living boldly in the face of mortality. Agent: Elaine Markson.

  • Library Journal (starred review) "Beautifully told. . . . There is not one bad sentence in this book. . . . I cannot wait to see what [Busch] writes next."
  • New York Journal of Books "Extraordinary. . . . It is impossible to read any part of this work and not be moved. . . . [Dust to Dust] is one to be savored. Don't fail to read it."
  • Men's Journal "Essential Iraq War reading. . . . The conflict between Busch's pacifist upbringing and his evolution into a decorated Marine rests at the heart of this fine memoir."
  • Seattle Times "Beautifully written. . . . Captivating. . . . It's fascinating to journey through [these] literary landscapes as time passes, swirls back, and eddies like a stream before flowing away."
  • Newark Star Ledger "A beautiful and powerful meditation on combat, profound loss, and mortality."
  • Wisconsin State Journal "An invigorating and moving take on the war memoir."
  • Minneapolis Star Tribune "Busch writes with eloquence about his tours of combat in Iraq, and seamlessly blends the human and natural characteristics of war."
  • Buffalo News "Intriguing. . . . A worthwhile read."
  • New York Times Book Review "Dust to Dust is not a typical contemporary war memoir. . . . It partakes of the pastoral strain associated with World War I trench-poets like Edmund Blunden and Edward Thomas."
  • Huffington Post "A beautiful meditation on war, loss, and the larger questions of life and death."
  • Baltimore City Paper "[Busch] writes with the precision of a stonemason, the courage of a combat veteran, and the inquisitiveness of an artist. . . . A haunting meditation on time, memory, and death."
  • Publishers Weekly "Busch carries us on a haunting, humorous, and poignant journey."
  • The SunBreak "Dust to Dust is startlingly good."
  • Hour Detroit magazine "A meditation on the literal and figurative borders of life—country to country, river to lake, soil to dust, wood to ash, life to death, blood to bones, child to man—[that] explores the wonders of the natural world and our solitary lives within it."
  • Karl Marlantes, bestselling author of Matterhorn and What It Is Like to Go to War "Elegiac, funny, wistful, deep, and wonderfully human, Dust to Dust moved me to laughter and tears, sometimes simultaneously. . . . After reading this book, you will want to go outside and really look at our world."
  • Doug Stanton, bestselling author of Horse Soldiers and In Harm's Way "Busch is a brilliant prose stylist for whom every pause counts, a man of three worlds—the heart, the mind, the earth. Dust to Dust is a stunning literary work about this mysterious trinity, and a return to home."
  • Mary Karr, author of The Liars' Club, Cherry, and Lit "This brave soldier with his singular sensibility . . . builds us a fort we're loath to leave."
  • Bonnie Jo Campbell, bestselling author of Once Upon a River "Busch is a poet with the soul of a civil engineer, and for as long as his body sustains him, he is the perfect soldier. I loved every page of this mesmerizing book."
  • Philip Caputo, author of A Rumor of War "An imaginative, original meditation on mortality that reaches beyond the particulars of the Iraq war and the present day to grasp the universal. It is a literary gem."
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A Memoir
Benjamin Busch
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